Who is qualified to defeat evil? - Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry - Luke 4:1-2
If you asked any person whether they would like the eradication of all evil and for world peace, I think most would say yes! Now, if we ask these same people if they have ever done something wrong or caused hurt to another individual or harm to this earth, many would say yes but only to a certain degree. It is human nature to deal with ourselves generously not wanting to see the full implications of the things we do and how they negatively affect the world around us. We generally don’t see that we are the problem or the barrier to the peace we so desperately want. We seem to see ourselves as the hero of our story and everyone else around us are the supporting characters in our narrative. In our story, those who oppose us are the enemy and we are the ones who generally hold the well-balanced view of life. Sure, we mess up at times but overall, we are good people doing our best in this life on our terms. With all that we see happening in the world, what are the chances that everyone is right in their self-assessment? Now if we want to see peace on earth, the most well-documented, reliable, and compelling narrative that deals with evil is that of Jesus Christ!
What does Jesus overcoming temptation have to do with defeating evil and bringing peace on earth? Temptation is the influence that creates a gnawing feeling inside us that unless we act in our own self-interests that we will not get what we need or want. Temptation acts like a magnet drawing out evil intent in our hearts into action. Giving in to temptation is what causes evil to exist in the world today. Jesus allowed Himself to be tempted in a weakened state having fasted from food for 40 days to show that He is the one who is qualified to deal with the problem of evil. Where Adam and Eve failed in the garden, the Israelites failed in the wilderness, and we fail day by day, Jesus has overcome! He is the only one in all human history who did not give in to temptation and act in a selfless manner. Jesus is the only One qualified to eradicate evil and usher in peace.
The devil tempted Jesus to lay aside his loyalty to God and to turn away from His mission to save humanity but Jesus’ love for God and for us is so great that even at His physically weakest, He could not be overcome. Think about it, every time we have given in to temptation, we have shown our lack of love and loyalty for Jesus and yet Jesus knew this was not dismayed or deterred from facing temptation for us! In the end, it was no match, Jesus did not waver or flinch. It was a knockout blow in the first round with his eyes blindfolded and both hands tied behind his back! Praise God!
So what is Jesus’ solution to the problem of evil in the world? Jesus says that we as humans must be born again. He is basically saying that our hearts and desires are the problem and that we need to be restored to the people we were intended to be. Jesus facilitates people being born again by first saving people from the judgment they have brought upon themselves. This is where Jesus took our place of punishment dying on the cross for our sins. Next, He fills those who have humbled themselves and received forgiveness with the Spirit of God to renew and restore their hearts to be sensitive to God’s presence and leading. This is what it means to be born again, to be forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit. Finally, Jesus plans to resurrect all people in perfect and sinless bodies and restore Heaven and Earth as paradise. The residual effects of brokenness and sin will be permanently removed from the earth and there will be peace with Heaven and Earth once again dwelling together eternally joined in perfect harmony.
The answer today to world peace and the eradication of evil is Jesus. He loves all people and has made a way out for everyone to have their sins forgiven, to receive new life, and live with Him forever. Overcoming Satan in the wilderness is just one of the first signs He gave us to show that He is the One able to accomplish peace on earth and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God.